Manali tourist destination Himachal Pradesh
India

Sethan Village, In Hamta Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Update September 2018: Unlike my first visit to Sethan, Manali (that happened in 2016) today, the town has become a lot more crowded. Having said that, please don’t visit Sethan, or Hamta Valley, under the false impression that you’re going to be the only tourist around, as this article may otherwise impose! Now, read ahead…

After a few nights in Charanag, in Hallan Valley — a small town tucked away from Manali, in Himachal Pradesh — it was time to relax, and lose myself in oblivion, once again. And Sethan, in Hamta Valley, sounded like a perfect name.

Located approximately at a 45-minute drive from Manali, it is a place for slow travellers – particularly during winter, when snow claims its ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, becomes impossible!

sethan, hamta valley

In the month of March, the valley was draped in white. Weather in Sethan was cold, with the temperature remaining below zero degrees Celcius for most of the day. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere.

From Sethan village, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges. River Beas flowing right next to it divides Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal where Hamta valley is located.

hamta valley

The inhabitants of Sethan are the original migrants from Tibet and Spiti Valley. They are all Buddhist people and used to come to Hamta Valley as horse herders, to do trade. They were given land in Hamta Valley by the then Government of India when Himachal Pradesh was still a part of Punjab.

During winter, most of them move to the lower altitude towns in Kullu Valley, leaving Sethan a beautifully deserted town, before moving back in summer again, and resuming their usual farming business. But with less than 20 houses it remains a beautiful offbeat place meant to relax and unwind.

What To See & Do In Sethan

The town sits at an altitude of over 2700m above sea level (almost 700m higher than Manali). It offers a combination of winter and summer adventure activities. One can compare it with the likes of Solang Valley minus the crowd.

sethan snow experienceBetween December and March, Hamta Valley receives heavy snowfall making its grassy land ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and snow-hiking. And thanks to its offbeat location and no chair-lift, the chances of bumping into a fellow skier are always very less. Though you may bump into a bear, if you’re that unlucky, but rest assured, you will enjoy the exclusivity of the place. During the summer, the place is ideal for camping and trekking.

snowboarding and skiing

[Also Read: My First Snowboarding Experience]

I was told that the land around Sethan is of high religious significance too.

Around 2 kilometers from the village lies Pandu Ropa – a place where Pandavas (before the time of Mahabharata) stayed and meditated. They also used a part of the land to grow crops, making it no less auspicious for the believers.

If you move further and trek towards the east, you will end up at Indrasana Peak (6200m) which is believed to be the throne of Indra (or the Rain God).

sethan village

Where To Stay In Sethan

Since it is a small town housing no more than 20 properties, the accommodation is fairly limited. There are very limited hotels and camping sites. Don’t look for hotels there because that will be a very Manali-like boring experience.

So speaking of where to stay, you can either choose to stay in an Igloo that costs a whopping four or six thousand Rupees per night. An igloo experience is only available in winter. To some, Sethan is also known as Igloo village Manali.

If no Igloo, I suggest you stay at a campsite in Sethan.

I’ve also started a permanent campsite under my own brand name ‘FootlooseCamps’. If you’re one of those people who enjoy minimalism and raw and rustic experience, this place is for you. If you want luxury and a lot of comfort, it’s a straight NO!

Here’re a few pictures of the campsite Footloose Camps and some views, in all weather. You can also visit our Instagram page for more photos:

footloosecamps

sethan

sethan snow weather

So yea, if you’re wondering where to stay in Sethan, I suggest you look for something quirky and adventurous over a boring hotel or a guesthouse.

How To Reach Sethan

It is easily accessible from Manali, throughout the year. Get a night bus from Delhi to Manali, and from Manali, readily available taxis can take you from Manali to Sethan in around 1000 Rupees per trip.

Share the taxi among a few people, and it won’t cost you a fortune.

manali to sethanIf you’re driving, however, you don’t even need to go to Manali. Just take the old Kullu Manali highway (from Kullu), also known as Nagar Road, and reach Prini. Prini is located 3 km before Manali and can be navigated on Google Maps. From Prini, you will find a detour a road going uphill on your right, towards Hamta Valley. Just take that road for the next 12 km (and 35 hairpin bends) and you reach Sethan village.

For easy navigation, search for ‘Footloose Camps’ on Google maps. Or contact me on Instagram: instagram.com/footloosecamps, and I will be happy to help!

Useful Travel Tips

  • I have seen a lot of people searching for Sethan Valley on Google. Please note that there is no valley called Sethan Valley. The valley where it is located is called Hamta Valley.
  • To give you a better idea, Hamta Valley rises perpendicularly to Kullu Valley. Think of it as a high mountain pass that connects Manali in Kullu Valley to Kaza in Spiti Valley.
  • Unlike in Manali, here you won’t find much to see and do. There are no popular temples or waterfalls. It is a small village meant for those who appreciate the idea of slow travel. If you’re one of those people who visit mountains to relax and unwind, this is your kind of place. If, however, you’re looking for things to see and do, you may get disappointed.
  • There are no cafes in the village but just a couple of dhabas where you can find things like Maggi and Parantha.
  • The entire ambience is very village-like — no fancy shops, no cafes, no vibrant crowd.
  • It is also possible to do a day trip to Hamta Valley. Just catch a taxi from Manali, spend a day lazying around, and return.
  • Taxis from Manali to Sethan take around 1000-2000 Rupees, depending upon the kind of taxi (Sumo or an Alto). If it’s a peak-season and most taxis are booked, they may charge extra.

I made this video back in 2017, during my first visit to the village and Hamta Valley. As I said above, a lot of things have changed, but you will still get a good idea of what to expect. The video includes my Manali to Sethan journey, my first snowboarding and snow-hiking experience, and more…

Also Read: Offbeat Destinations Near Manali

About

I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. Hi Dev, found your article very informative and interesting. I am planning a trip to Uttarkashi in April end and would like to visit Sethan Valley around that time. How would the weather be? And what’s the best way to get there for uttarkashi. Dates I am looking at are between 22 – 30th April’ 2020.
    Please guide me.

    • Its will be almost 15 hours journey as you will have to again start from dehradun to manali.

  2. Hey Dev,
    Me and 4other friends of mine are planning to come sethan on 26th dec’19 and will be needing you help in accomodation.

  3. Hi Dev, Is Sethan a place to visit without much of trekking, to catch the breathe taking mountain views/snow mountains during first week of December this year?

  4. Deepa Chakraborty

    Hi Dev, Me and 5 other adult mates are planning to visit Sethan Valley in June 21st. Please get back to me ASAP .

  5. could you call me or message me on 7021562237, me and wifey planning a 8 day trip to manali and near, could u accommodate or suggest us something dates are may 18 to 26 may

  6. Will 5 th dec-7th dec this year be ideal for skiing in sethan?

    • Yes Haritha, the entire month of December is good for skiing/snowboarding. I am going to Sethan too with my snowboard on Frida (30th Nov).

  7. Dear Dev,

    Is it fine to visit Sehtan on Novembewr end? Is snow around?

    Cheers,
    Raj

    • Yes Raj, November is a good time though I cannot predict snow. The best time for snow, however is between mid-december until mid-february. that’s when the probability is high and any snowfall stays on ground for longer because of lower temperature. However, november is good too, very chilly and clear skies 🙂

  8. April end , what can I expect in Sethan Village?
    are the hills still snow covered?

    • The tops are covered with snow, not the village. We didnt get much snow this year. You can camp and trek in April. I’ve started a campsite too if you want to do that: footloosecamps.com

    • Hi Dev, found your article very informative and interesting. I am planning a trip to Uttarkashi in April end and would like to visit Sethan Valley around that time. How would the weather be? And what’s the best way to get there for uttarkashi. Dates I am looking at are between 22 – 30th April’ 2020.
      Please guide me.

  9. Is it like tirthan valley ?? how far is it from there ?

    • About 5 hours. Tirthan to Kullu, Kullu to Prini (next town from Manali) and Prini to Sethan (45 min drive). So 2+2+45min=nearly 5 hours.

  10. Hi Dev,

    Me and my friend were looking to visit a place the coming week, 23-26 November, and were unable to find any suitable place to go.

    I asked one of my friend and he suggested me to see this blog.

    I did and the pics and everything looks fantastic. So wanted to know a few things, if possible, can you give me your number so that I can get some details regarding Sethan, since we are on a very limited budget and will be coming from Delhi.

    There are two main things I wanted to know, whether we would get to see snow the next week in Sethan, and secondly, is there any trek around there as you mentioned, keeping in mind we only have 4 days and have to return to Delhi Sunday night or early Monday morning.

    Any suggestions would be weclomed 🙂

    • Sure Raghav. I’m afraid the guy who ran the guest house previously is no longer running it full time. I am organising a guided tour to Sethan from New Delhi (leaving on 24th, returning 27th morning) let me know if you want to be a part of it. If you will already be in Manali perhaps you can join from Manali. I’m however yet to find a running guest house there. (PS: since Sethan covers in snow in winter, locals leave the town and move to Prini, which is on Kullu Manali Highway)

    • So basically you are saying that there would be snow there the next weekend?

      If possible, give me your number so that there is ease regarding the information I seek, as it would take a lot of time texting and gathering information over here..lol

  11. I stayed in Sethan in May this year, on my way to Hampta Pass, made friends with a couple of locals and fell in love with the place. I plan to go back there in February, when its all white and snowed under! The pics on your blog are a delight. Thanks!

    • That’s so great. I’ll be helping someone run a guest house between Jan-Feb, hopefully when you’re planning to revisit. Write me again when you arrive. Sethan is beautiful!

  12. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    The furthest North I went was to Dharamsala but I would love to visit this little-known region and town. Though I can’t stand the cold….lol (and I’m Canadian)!

  13. Tom @ Adventurous Travels

    So beautiful – staying in an igloo in India? That is something! Although the price may be discouraging. After seeing your posts about the north of India – I can see now how underrated it is. I must visit the north too now 🙂

    • North is underrated beacuse the government never promotes it. You should totally visit it sometime. Himalayas are BEAUTY!

    • Can these places be covered with small kods of age 3-6. Reply will be highly appreciated.

  14. this is a great post. Himalayas will definitely be among the top destinations to skip the chaos of big cities and go find some peace

    • yea it was totally offbeat. recommended to those who want to have some Me-Time with nature

  15. Divya Rai

    Hi Dev,
    I chanced upon your blogpost while looking for offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh, and I must say that I have figured out my next destination. Thank you for the details. This place looks interesting.

    • Thanks Divya. It’s a lovely place. In fact so lovely that after exploring much of India, it was in Sethan that I decided to start my own campsite. Check footloosecamps.com I’ve started it in Sethan just this month in April 2018 🙂

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